Last reviewed 9 September 2020

Plans to relaunch GP appraisals from next month, under a new flexible system, have been confirmed by NHS England.

NHS England National Medical Director Professor Stephen Powis informed responsible officers (ROs) in a letter that they should restart appraisals from 1 October but to take a more flexible approach.

NHS England said the reason for bringing back appraisals was to "support" doctors.

The letter stated that ROs should relaunch the new, more flexible appraisals with a view to restart regular appraisals, which were suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, from 1 April next year.

Further guidance on the interim appraisal system has been published by the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges. It said that it "is understood that your supporting information and written reflection may have been limited by the disruption caused by the pandemic", although doctors "will need to provide at least the minimum essentials for your appraisal", which are listed as "any supporting information that you have gathered since your last appraisal", and "any significant events, compliments and complaints in which you were personally named or involved and any items you have been asked to bring to the appraisal in the usual way".

The British Medical Association (BMA) confirmed that, following the necessary pausing of appraisals during the height of the pandemic, it had been in discussion with NHSE/I to make sure that the planned restart was not too disruptive for GP practices, while allowing public confidence to be maintained.

The BMA General Practitioners Committee (GPC) said it was now encouraged by the significant simplification of the requirements and the reduction in paperwork.

It was also confirmed that appraisals may need to be suspended again, but on a local basis, if GPs are required to respond to a local outbreak of coronavirus.